Leading figures from the Space sector have encouraged STC members to explore business opportunities and potentially to tap into billions in funding for projects.
Airbus, Lockheed Martin and the UK Space Agency were among a high profile speaker line-up at the second of the STC’s new series of Business Growth events, this one in conjunction with The Open University.
More than 60 individuals from businesses – some from beyond the STC’s geography – attended STC board member Grant Thornton’s premises in Milton Keynes to network and hear why their specialisms could boost the UK’s contribution to Space over the next two decades or more.
Lockheed Martin’s Senior Business Development Manager Steve Gibson said: “This is our first engagement with the STC and we’re here to tell the audience what we are about and to see if there are any potential partners for us.
“We’re talking in areas such as extreme heat, materials, structures, mechanisms, inflatables… having made our ‘pitch’ it is now over to them to let us know what they could contribute.”
The UK Space Agency’s Deputy Head of Technology and Head of Standards Tony Forsythe explained: “Space isn’t something we see as being isolated to itself – we know the expertise that are required but other sectors can also become involved so it’s important we explore other fields.
“Talking to people from other sectors in the STC and discovering if there could be solutions from some of those different sectors is exciting.”
Meanwhile, Martin Lee, Procurement (TOP), Defence and Space at Airbus said he believed the UK Space sector’s growth strategy could increase the UK share of the global space market from £18bn to £30bn by 2030, which would be greatly supported by the recent budget and increase in R&D projects.
“Some of that will apply to the Space sector but the Space community as it stands today can’t solve everything – it’s difficult to put a price on just how much the businesses in the STC might have to offer the sector,” he suggested.
“There has been an explosion in what society and governments require from Space – and people are also realising that the biggest data capture will come from Space.
“We are going to need new, innovative, disruptive engineering technology companies from different sectors such as those in the STC. It is going to take many different minds from many different sectors…”
He added: “Businesses in the STC should also consider that the Space sector will look favourably on dual-use technologies reducing costs, plus the ability to cut lead times of getting a technology launched an operational.
“This can mean taking technologies that people already know and adapting them; not necessarily starting afresh.”
STC CEO Pim van Baarsen said the organisation’s forthcoming Design, Metrology & Simulation special interest group meeting (6 May) would add to the Space event.
“The quality of this first STC Space sector event has been excellent – fantastic speakers highlighting opportunities for collaboration and funding for our members,” he enthused.
“The audience was made up of people actively looking to engage with the Space sector, and it’s an area we will continue to review with members and the organisations represented by today’s speakers.
“Our next DSM SIG event is timely as it links directly with the Space discussions today, as it is being held at Harwell with input from the Science and Technologies Facilities Council.”